June 16, 2020 / 9:52 AM / 2 months ago

Russian police injured in clashes with Azeris stranded by coronavirus travel curbs

MOSCOW, June 16 (Reuters) - Seven Russian police officers were injured in clashes with around 400 Azeri nationals stuck in southern Russia due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions, authorities said on Tuesday.

The violence broke out late on Monday near a tent encampment in the Caspian Sea region of Dagestan, which borders Azerbaijan, after the Azeris being accommodated there learnt that only some of them would be able to return home in coming days.

Russia, which has registered the world’s third largest tally of coronavirus cases, closed its borders in March and special arrangements have had to be made for most foreigners wanting to be repatriated.

The Azeris were told only 120 of them would be able to return home in coming days, the TASS news agency quoted a local official, Fuad Shikhiev, as saying.

They then tried to block a main road and threw rocks and other objects at police, injuring seven and damaging five vehicles, the Investigative Committee - the branch of law enforcement that investigates major crimes - said in a statement. (Reporting by Tom Balmforth; editing by John Stonestreet)

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